On the brink of elimination, NLEX fought with great determination and lived to fight another day with an 86-85 grind-out win over Barangay Ginebra in Game Three of their PBA Governors’ Cup race-to-three semis series at the MOA Arena in Pasay City Sunday.
The Road Warriors were further depleted by injuries to JR Quinahan and Matt Nieto but still never ran out of heroes as they repelled Ginebra’s sweep bid and narrowed down the series gap to 2-1.
They go for the equalizer as semis play swings over to the Smart Araneta Coliseum Wednesday.
“Sa unang dalawang laro, we took the lead early, then we lost it as we couldn’t sustain the momentum. Today, sabi ko lang let’s avoid the embarrassment of getting sweep. Kung makaisa, hindi na nakakahiya; at baka maiba ang complexion ng series. They proved we can beat Ginebra,” said NLEX coach Yeng Guiao.
“Parehong ubos na sa injuries. We didn’t play JR today, and Nieto got injured in the third quarter. The task fell on the shoulders of Philip Paniamogan, and he responded big time,” added Guiao, mentioning one of the players that made a big impact in the game.
Clark came through with 21 points and 17 rebounds, and capped his double-double game with a crucial steal off LA Tenorio leading to the game-winning three-point play off a foul by Justin Brownlee with 7.3 ticks left to play.
With no more timeout left, Tenorio curiously opted to go for a layup, giving his team no chance at forcing a possible overtime.